Sunday, September 29, 2013

Talking Points #2, Aria

"What they seemed not to recognize is that, as a socially disadvantaged child, I considered Spanish to be a private language"

This quote introduces to us Rodriguez' perception of the languages he's grown up with. In a way, society quickly taught him that the use of Spanish was not suitable for the classroom or anywhere outside of his house. At an early age, society has altered his perception so that he believes certain traits and inherited customs he would otherwise be proud of should be hidden away. Further in the article it is explained that such a thought pattern leads to a significant  learning disadvantage. Because of this, Rodriguez felt out of place growing up.

"Without question, it would have pleased me to hear my teachers address me in Spanish as I entered the classroom. I would have felt much less afraid."

Continuing with the initial quote, Rodriguez makes a greater effort to convey his sense of discomfort in the classroom as a young Spanish-speaking student. He states that even if this were the case, it wouldn't have solved his problem. English was still what had been drilled into his head as the "language of the public society". That he couldn't have been kept from learning it, as the longer it took, the farther the gap between him and English-speaking students would have widened.

"But the special feeling of closeness at home was diminished by then"

Not only did learning English take its toll in the form of time and effort, it slowly drained from Rodriguez' love of home life and the quality of bonding with his parents. He lost his sense of individuality, his eagerness to be home. The learning of English was very much a trade. As the language barrier closed between him and his teachers, it widened between him and his parents. Though Rodriguez had lost his sense of personal individuality, he mentions that he was compensated with the ability to define his public individuality.

Points to share:

Although Rodriguez is proud of his public success and accomplishments, he sounds somewhat regretful when considers what his private and personal language used to mean to himself and his family. He mentions that he had lost the precious and nostalgic sounds he used to to share in his own home. However, it was also his comfort with the new language of English that allowed his realization that he may not have otherwise came to: he is indeed an American citizen.  His parents were also compensated for what they had lost. They had grown more publicly confident. Thoughts on raising bilingual children have come a long way, but the success still comes with great struggle at the expense of both parents and children.


  1. It really was striking to see that someone's home life could be so adversely affected by learning a language. I suppose the point that Rodriguez makes would be that not only was it a language shift that he had to learn but a cultural shift as well. His home life changed because each member of the family became more "Americanized" and somewhat lost the identity they had grown accustomed to.

  2. I really like the quotes you used and I think you made a lot of great points. The last point you made about how success comes with great struggles at the expense of both children and their parents. I agree with that and think it is very true and interesting.